I haven’t been writing much on it lately, but I’m a firm believer on the power of a soundtrack (and good sound direction) to either give a show the last little push it needs to get to 10/10 quality or kneecap a show that could’ve been a contender. With that in mind, here are 10 tracks from 10 different 2013 anime I thought turned particular scenes into memorable standouts.
10. Renai Kenkyujou Report 3 – Love Lab
-Regrettably deleted off of youtube 4 days before this posting, this track packed a delightful “po po po” in its run that did a great job of accentuating Maki’s delusions early on in the show.
Highlight: Maki’s plan to become a dojikko in episode 2
9. Overdrive – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
-Joseph Joestar does a fantastic job making the ripple an interesting superpower despite coming to a series one part before one of the most iconic superpowers in manga history was introduced. He did so with a mix of NBA-superstar personality and chessmaster cleverness, hence the forcefully slick beat.
Highlight: The surprise was grenades!
8. N Da Gi Na Da – Outbreak Company
-Nothing speaks to an awkward atmosphere that the audience is supposed to enjoy like, well, that. This wasn’t the accompaniment to the funniest scenes in OBC (one of them, involving guards and a distraction, was dead quiet), but it forced through a lot of humor that would have otherwise died the death of a beached whale.
Highlight: The first time it was used in episode one, where it distracted me from what may well have been a show-killing joke about strike zones.
7. Occult Comic Situation – Dangan Ronpa
-It was hard to pick just one from the excellent DR OST, so I went with the one I liked to listen to the most as a tiebreaker.
Highlight: If memory serves, this one came up when people were arguing over who got to monopolize the friendship of the sentient AI.
6. Lovely One – GJ-bu
-This tune is so fundamentally cuddly and cute, even before you add the rest of GJ-bu to it.
Highlight: Mao in a hamster suit, episode 4.
5. The Unlimited – The Unlimited
-The staff on this show wanted to write it and direct it like a high-budget superhero action movie. Which also conveniently happens to be exactly what composer Kotaro Nakagawa wanted.
Highlight: The very first scene in the very first episode with the tanks, helicopters, and popsicle stick that dispelled every one of my worries about this adaptation.
4. TekiPaki – Yuyushiki
-Short of the ones that faded into the show’s ending a-la Kuragehime, this is the best track I can think of at segwaying out of an episode.
Highlight: Really, it sent off over half the show’s episodes (2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, and 11) on a fantastic upbeat. But especially so in the infirmary scene in episode 4.
3. Crossfade – Arpeggio of Blue Steel
-The second of three “couldn’t pick just one” tier soundtracks on this list. Arpeggio’s OST was so good at building tension in those scenes that called for it.
Highlight: The one-HP-six-torpedos battle with Haruna and Kirishima in episode 4.
2. Taste the Satisfaction – Free
-This song is fantastically full of hope, and was the toughest pick of the lot because it comes from the best overall soundtrack of the year.
Highlight: A training montage in episode 9 after everyone knows they’re going to prefecturals.
1. Gatchaman ~ In the Name of Love – Gatchaman Crowds
Highlight: Jou’s lit-cigarette moment in episode 10. The episode number is a bit lower than the number of times I rewatched from that scene to the end of the episode.